Mon 5 Jan: 10 things you need to know

We’ve done all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Read on for the top ten travel industry news stories of the day we think you need to know.

We’ve done all the hard work, so you don’t have to! Read on for the top ten travel industry news stories of the day we think you need to know.

1. Australian airline ceases operations


An Australian airline officially clipped its wings and ceased trading over the weekend.

Cairns-based, Skytrans, flew its last passengers on Friday after nearly 25 years of operating as a family owned, commercial airline.

The announcement comes nearly a year after the airline lost its major Queensland Government contracts.

Read on


2. AirAsia update: aircraft parts & 34 bodies located

AirAsia in the story

Recovery of the downed AirAsia plane and its passengers continued into its ninth day today, with crew to-date locating 34 bodies and five major parts of the A320-200 aircraft.

Flight QZ8501 crashed into the Java Sea last week during a flight from Indonesian city Surabaya to Singapore. The plane was carrying 162 people – seven crew members and 155 passengers – when it lost contact with Indonesia’s air control 42 minutes after takeoff.

Since, relief workers have searched the rough seas for wreckage, bodies and the ‘black box’, which holds flight data that will determine the cause of the crash.

Read on


3. New wide-body plane for Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways

Fiji Airways has officially signed off to receive its first A330-300 aircraft in December this year.

The aircraft will join the carrier’s current wide-body fleet, which currently includes three A330-200s.

The 300 series offers 40 more seats than the 200 series – 24 seats in business class and 289 in economy class.

Economy also have individual entertainment screens and power supply for charging devices.

Fiji Airways said the aircraft will be used on popular long-haul routes.


4. Morocco aims for global destination status

Image: danm12/Shutterstock

Image: danm12/Shutterstock

Morocco’s tourism leaders have revealed a new plan, which will see both Rabat and Casablanca join Marrakech as global tourism destinations.

Spending up to $2 billion on the project, the hope is that the two destinations will become world leaders in travel through new museums, theatres, marines, restaurants, cafes, shopping centres and new upscale resorts and hotels.

According to Morocco’s Minister of Tourism, His Excellency Dr Lahcen Haddad, promoting the two cities will contribute to the country’s growing tourism sector.


5. Fog delays Abu Dhabi services

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Etihad expects flights from Abu Dhabi International Airport to return to normal today after severe fog disrupted services from the gateway over the weekend.

Following a major restructuring of operations yesterday, including cancellations of 20 flights, aircraft congestion at Abu Dhabi has eased, with many disrupted services departing and delayed inbound services arriving in the UAE capital.

In addition, the rebooking of many Etihad Airways passengers on later flights, or their transfer to other airlines, has helped ease the pressure on Abu Dhabi International Airport, while the cancellation or deferral of flights around the network has provided more pilots and cabin crew to operate rescheduled services.

The airline is also encouraging passengers who are able to defer their travel to, from or through Abu Dhabi up to and including 6 January to rebook their flights. The airline is waiving normal cancellation and refund fees during this period.

Meanwhile, over the holidays Etihad signed a new agreement with Aerolineas Argentinas, which will see the UAE carrier place its ‘EY’ flight code on flights across the Argentinian airline’s domestic network and flights to Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay.

Travellers will be able to book codeshare services from mid-January for departures from 1 February.


6. Oman Air flies on new route

Oman Air

The Omani carrier ramped up its operations over the holidays, with new direct services from Muscat to Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.

Operating four times weekly aboard the A330-300, the airline’s chief operating officer Abdulrahman Al Busaidy said the route has already had high levels of bookings from both leisure and business travellers.

Oman Air’s Airbus A330-300 features 24 new Business Class seats. It is fitted in a 2-2-2 configuration, each 21-inch wide seat converts to a 77-inch long, fully flat bed.

As part of the airline’s expanding network, Oman Air is also planning to introduce 24 new aircraft to its fleet between now and 2017.

Read on


7. KarryOn deals of the week

deals of the week in story

Get some inspiration for your next holiday or your client’s next trip, with some of the best travel deals of the week.

This week we have 50th birthday celebration prices from Princess Cruises and seven nights for the price of four with Captain Cook Cruises Fiji. Plus 20 percent off in Moorea and British Airways’ cheap fares to London!

Read on


8. Child nearly drowns in cruise ship pool

Oasis of the Seas

A four-year-old boy spent the weekend in intensive care after nearly drowning in a cruise-ship pool.

The near-drowning occurred on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas during a sailing from Florida.

Staff aboard the vessel rescued and revived the boy, before the ship returned to Port Everglades where paramedics took him to a local hospital.

According to  a spokesperson at Broward County, Florida, Fire and Rescue, investigations showed he had wandered away from his parents and was underwater for up to six minutes before he was rescued.

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson confirmed the incident, saying he was rescued from “one of the ship’s swimming pools.”


9. Three Irish guys dance around the world

These guys may have started a new travel trend.

They’ve gained a lot of international attention on their travel video, which shows them dancing around the world.

The three guys did the Irish jig in 23 countries including Australia, Peru to Bolivia and Paraguay.

They then returned home and edited their dance into one three minute and 47 seconds video. Check it out above.


10. What did this airline do to anger a monk?

United Airlines

He may not have raised his voice or thrown anything across the room, but a recent conversation with an airline customer service staff member did push a monk to ‘manifest anger’ in his tone of voice.

Brother Noah of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in New Mexico told the New York Times he struggled to stay peaceful while dealing with United Airlines over the phone.

According to the monk, last year his friend Brother John Baptist flew to Malawi in Africa to visit his sick mother. Using monastery funds, he purchased a $2,500 round-trip ticket.

After arriving, Brother John needed to extend his trip and asked Brother Noah to reorganise his flight.

However, when Brother Noah spoke to United they told the monk his original purchase was fraudulent – even though Brother John had flown to the destination using the ticket.

The United customer service staff member reportedly suggested the monk drive three hours to a United desk in Albuquerque to fix the problem, to which Brother Noah responded by asking for a supervisor.

When speaking to the supervisor didn’t fix the problem, Brother John said he “struggled to remain calm and charitable”.

“I failed during this call.”
“I said to her something like: ‘Thank you for speaking. God bless you. I will pray for you. But you have not been helpful.’”

The monastery then used its website to set the record straight with an open letter. This prompted the airline to solve the issue with a return flight, apology and $350 credit toward future travel.

What’s your reaction to today’s news? Share your comments below and start the conversation.